Nationals beat Dodgers, Giants beat Cubs

LOS ANGELES (AP) " Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth homered as the Washington Nationals moved within one victory of winning a postseason series for the first time, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-3 Monday for a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five National League Division Series.

And San Francisco also made it 2-1 in their NLDS against the Chicago Cubs, avoiding a sweep by pulling a game back with a thrilling 6-5 win in 13 innings.

Four Washington relievers combined for 4 2/3 shutout innings at Dodger Stadium, putting the Nationals in position to wrap up the NLDS there on Tuesday.

Playing 23 hours after the Nationals tied the series at home in a rain-postponed Game 2, Rendon hit a two-run homer in a four-run third that haunted LA's Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda. Werth added a solo shot off closer Kenley Jansen in a breakaway four-run ninth.

NL East champions for the third time in five years, the Nationals were unable to advance during their two previous trips to the postseason. They lost in the Division Series to St. Louis in 2012 and San Francisco in 2014.

The franchise has only won one playoff series " the Montreal Expos beat Philadelphia following the strike-shortened 1981 season before losing to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.

The team moved from Montreal to Washington before the 2005 season.

"I'm hoping this is our year," Werth said. "We're battle-tested, we're playoff-tested, and we've got a good group of guys."

The Dodgers again struggled against left-handed pitching on Monday, a problem throughout the season when they had a major league-worst .213 average against lefties. Four Washington lefty relievers stymied the Dodgers in the first two games. Facing lefty starter Gio Gonzalez in Game 3, they got three runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

Maeda, who won a team-leading 16 games, gave up four runs and five hits in three innings, struck out four and walked two in his first career start against Washington. He found immediate trouble when he loaded the bases in a 28-pitch first inning on consecutive two-out walks as the Nats got on top. Maeda retired the side in the second before wilting in the third, opening that inning by conceding four hits in five batters.

"Kenta was missing and getting behind," LA manager Dave Roberts said. "His fastball leaked back behind the plate and they made him pay. It was a good game until the ninth. That's baseball."

In San Francisco, Joe Panik doubled off the wall in right-center field to drive in Brandon Crawford with the winning run in the 13th inning, as the Giants staved off elimination yet again by outlasting the Cubs. San Francisco won its 10th straight game when facing postseason elimination.

Panik came through against Mike Montgomery, who was pitching his fifth inning of relief.

"There's a sense of calmness," Panik said. "It's like we've been there before."

The tough-to-eliminate Giants forced Tuesday night's Game 4 back at their raucous, sold-out ballpark, postponing a potential Cubs clinch party. Chicago will send John Lackey to the mound opposite lefty Matt Moore.

Panik's big hit ended a 5-hour, 4-minute game that was only 29 minutes shy of the total time taken to play the first two series games combined last week at Wrigley Field.

"We played it hard, we played it right " and they beat us," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

Rookie left-hander Ty Blach was the winner, escaping a 13th-inning jam when pinch-hitter David Ross bounced into a double play.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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